Otherwise Engaged

Five, by Lubaina Himid MBE, 1991, acrylic on canvas, 1.5x1.2m Collection of G. Pollock, permanent loan to Leeds Art Gallery
Otherwise Engaged: Legacies and Questions of Marginal and Mainstream Visual Arts Strategies

Otherwise Engaged is an international, predominantly post-graduate symposium.
Saturday 3 December 2011, University of Leeds.

In 1995 Kobena Mercer published the first in his Annotating Art’s Histories edited series, Cosmopolitan Modernisms. In his introduction, Mercer stated that the series would offer:

‘[A] fresh approach [to art history] by showing how a shared history of art and ideas was experienced differently around the globe….In a situation where the aspiration to be all inclusive has become the official watchword of institutional policy, has the very idea of ‘inclusion’ now become a double-edged sword?‘

In 2011, as an emerging group of artists, curators, art historians and academics enter the field of visual arts, this symposium seeks to investigate how we are to engage with the challenges of a shared and plural art history that Mercer, and so many others, speak of. What is the meaning of ‘inclusion’ today, sixteen years after Mercer’s publication? The symposium hopes to explore the numerous ways in which issues of race, culture, class, sex and gender have been considered across the various arenas of visual art, and how this emerging generation of those operating in the visual arts engage with the existing challenges of the past, present and future.

Otherwise Engaged is a one-day, predominantly post-graduate, symposium considering the challenges of intervention, integration, separatism, confrontation, assimilation, ghettoisation and accommodation. How have marginalised spaces and mainstream institutions engaged with these challenges? We are interested in exploring the processes, relationships and pluralities of the various sites of the marginal and the mainstream. What are the experiences and examples of specific interventions, theoretical strategic models, and tactical approaches from contemporary art practice and writing, culture, education and curating?

Otherwise Engaged is an interdisciplinary event that crosshatches experiences, perspectives and analyses from art history, fine art, cultural studies, museum and curatorial studies, feminist studies, gender studies, sociology and post/colonial studies. While the symposium is situated in contemporary Britain and the complexities of representation and identity internal to Britain, we strongly encourage the exploration of relationships with other sites, both geographically and generationally.

Old Mining Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, on Saturday 3 December 2011. Supported by University of Leeds LEAP Research Hub.

10.30 – 11.00:  Introduction: Ella Spencer-Mills

11.00 – 12.40: Panel 1: Identity, Representation and Authenticity
Elizabeth Robles: ‘Good’ Hair, ‘Bad’ Hair
Dom Nasilowski: Has the Point Been Made? On Mohawk Land, Indigenous Articulations and the Maternal Voice in the films of Alanis Obomsawin
Prof. Brenda Cooper: If The Shoe Fits: Palimpsests and Pastiches of Diaspora
Amanda Phillips: Meditations on a Feminist Practice

2.00 – 3.15: Panel 2: Projects, Reflections and Foresight
Linda Duffy: Creating Space for Women in the Visual Arts during the 1970s and 1980s: The Women Artists’ Slide Library
Dr. Sophie Hope: Lessons Learnt? Reflection on Art and Politics in 1984
Carla Cruz: All My Independent Women – Or Rather What Can Words Do?

3.40 – 5.20: Panel 3: Curating, Policies and Strategies
Sibyl Fisher: Learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Curatorial Practices
Anjalie Dalal-Clayton: Power, Influence and the Enduring Black Survey Show: A Contemporary Exhibition Case Study
Jennifer Morgan: Zones of Negotiation: The Auckland Museums Relationships with Pacific Island Communities
Nicola Ashmore: Commissioning Living Cultures: Impact of Cultural Diversity Policies on Museum Practices, 1997-2010

5.45 – 6.45: Keynote Speaker: Prof. Lubaina Himid (MBE)